IRAN v SPAIN
Live on ITV. Wednesday June 20, kick-off 7pm
SPAIN recovered from the shock sacking of boss Julen Lopetegui to serve up a 3-3 classic against Portugal in their Group B opener, with only Cristiano Ronaldo's late free-kick denying them full points.
Now it's time to bank the first victory under stand-in manager Fernando Hierro when ultra-defensive Iran park the bus in Kazan.
Iran started with a win against Morocco – their first Wold Cup finals success since 1998 – despite being largely under the cosh. They failed to attempt a single shot in the second half and were gifted victory by Aziz Bouhaddouz's last-gasp own goal.
Iran's defensive record under ex-Man United No.2 Carlos Queiroz is impressive, conceding just five goals in 18 qualifiers. They'll set up to try to contain the Spaniards but Hierro's team is bursting with the talent to find a way through.
The likes of David Silva and Isco possess the intricate passing and dribbling skills to unlock any defence and with La Roja as short as 1-7 for victory, value needs to be found elsewhere.
A Spanish win without conceding looks likely at 8-15 with Ladbrokes against an Iranian side who tend to get a nosebleed when they cross the halfway line.
Spain could be frustrated early on but their dominance can see them break the deadlock before the interval, making the evens offered by William Hill for a Spanish goal in each half an appealing bet.
Iran will be happy to avoid a hammering and a Spain win and under 3.5 goals is a tempting proposition at 4-5 with Coral.
Diego Costa grabbed a double against the Portuguese and will lead the line again – his battering-ram physicality can lead the way to goal again.
- Spain to score in both halves (Evens, William Hill)
- Diego Costa (3-1, 10bet)
- Spain 3, Iran 0 (11-2, Betfair)
- Spain win to nil
- Costa to score any time
- Over 5 Spain corners
- Most goals in second half
- (5-1, bet365)